NINE TRUTHS ABOUT E-BOOK PUBLISHING
"Since the traditional publishing industry has been forced to go digital, it has found that the Internet Age has changed consumers’ expectations of digital products for good and it is no longer enough for the e-book just to be the electronic manifestation of the printed book. E-books and websites exist in the same world, competing for the top spot on Amazon or Google respectively and drawing similar expectations from the consumers, about their appearance, functionality and interactivity."
AMAZON VS. BIG PUBLISHING: 800 LBS VS. 798 LBS
"The difference between Amazon and the publishers is that Amazon is willing to continue to lose money on its book operations for as long as it takes to control the field, relying on its other business to shore up its balance sheet. In contrast, the Big 6 are unwilling to lose money even for one day, even if it means their ultimate survival. Jeff Bezos is capable of thinking years ahead, like a great chess player who can think dozens of moves ahead; in contrast, the Big 6 CEOs are like the starting chess player, unable to think strategically even one move ahead, let alone several. Bezos has the spine to tell shareholders no payout this quarter or next; the Big 6 CEOs do not."
An American Editor
IS BUNDLING EBOOKS WITH PRINT BOOKS A GOOD IDEA?
"In fact, most of the publishers I’ve talked to about this see ebooks as, simply, a third format, in a trilogy that includes hardcovers and paperbacks. One reason they like that, of course, is that it would mean an expanding readership, a readership that might not otherwise have been reachable. This excites any publisher, and not just because of sales. It’s not all about money. But it’s a business, after all, and it does also mean something to publishers that a third format does help to amortize costs and make a distressingly low-margin industry look at least a little more like it has a workable business model."
BARNES AND NOBLE TAKING ON AMAZON IN THE FIGHT OF ITS LIFE
"Running this sprint was, of all companies, Barnes & Noble, the giant that helped put so many independent booksellers out of business and that now finds itself locked in the fight of its life. What its engineers dreamed up was the Nook, a relative e-reader latecomer that has nonetheless become the great e-hope of Barnes & Noble and, in fact, of many in the book business.
Several iterations later, the Nook and, by extension, Barnes & Noble, at times seem the only things standing between traditional book publishers and oblivion."
The New York Times
JONATHAN FRANZEN: E-BOOKS ARE DAMAGING SOCIETY
"I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change. Will there still be readers 50 years from now who feel that way? Who have that hunger for something permanent and unalterable? I don’t have a crystal ball. But I do fear that it’s going to be very hard to make the world work if there’s no permanence like that."
JONATHAN FRANZEN IS WRONG: THE DIGITAL AGE IS MAKING US SMARTER
"So we need to tamp it down a bit: the e-reader is not the barbarian at the gate; governments become corrupt and civil society is lost for other reasons.
What I guess Franzen is complaining about is that people using e-readers may not bring the serious attention to a book that he applies in his writing, which is famously undertaken in conditions of monastic rigour that exclude an internet connection. Like many, he believes that we have become shallow readers, less able to focus on the deeper meaning of books and are the worse for it."
THE SELF-EPUBLISHING BUBBLE
"There's another name for what happens when people start to make money out of speculation and hype: it's called a bubble. Like the dotcom bubble, the commercial real estate bubble, the subprime mortgage bubble, the credit bubble and the derivative trading bubble before it, the DIY epublishing bubble is inflating around us. Each of those other bubbles also saw, in their earliest stages, a great deal of fuss made over a "new" phenomenon, which was then over-hyped and over-leveraged. But speculation, as we've learned at our peril, is a very dangerous foundation for any business. And when the epub bubble bursts, as all previous bubbles have done, the fall-out for publishing and writing may be even harder to repair than it is proving to be in the fields of mortgages, derivatives and personal debt. Because this bubble is based on cultural, not purely economic, grounds."
DRM, “SOCIAL DRM” AND THE MADNESS OF PUBLISHERS
"What’s more, we know that customers hate DRM. They rail against it, they actively seek out non-DRM versions, and they boycott products with DRM platforms. In publishing, there’s the dawning realization that allowing, say, Amazon, to lock up your books with its DRM means that Amazon essentially owns your customers. That is the reality of DRM. This is incredibly bad for publishing’s future."
Publishers Weekly | @doctorow
STORIES DON'T NEED "ENHANCEMENTS"
"Readers don’t like their mental imagery being interfered with. I can think of nothing worse than “enhancements” to an e-book which would show me not only what all the characters look like, but how they dress, how they move, their mannerisms, what their voices sound like, and so on. It would be like reading the book after watching the movie – every single time.
I can see enhanced e-books having some uses, especially for non-fiction, educational, and kids’ books. The attraction of having a book about anatomy where you could (literally) peel back the layers and peek inside, or a Choose Your Own Adventure starring Dora the Explorer (or whatever), are obvious. But for adult fiction? I can’t see it."
IndieReader.com | @IndieReader